Are you scouring the internet or a pretzel factory after hours for ideal Week 16 NFL Survivor Pool picks? Winging it usually doesn’t get the job done. So, how should we strategize with an eye toward the rest of the season? Let’s talk survivor pool NFL betting strategy and optimal team picks.
NFL Week 16 Survivor Pool
Picking one team that is a virtual certainty to win each week sounds easy in theory. However, most NFL survivor pool rules dictate that you can’t select the same team twice.
Sometimes it’s best to lock in a nearly guaranteed win. Other times, it’s better to take a chance to preserve safer options for later. Before we get into this week’s picks, let’s walk through last week’s strategy and results.
I recommended the Commanders as my primary pick and the Saints as my secondary option. If you didn’t heed my Washington recommendation, well done! My lovely wife agrees with your instincts.
Based on historical intra-divisional data and matchup-based strengths and weaknesses, I had reasoned that the Giants (only one win since Week 8) were long shots to win on the road.
MORE: Early Anytime TD Scorer Predictions Week 16
Notably, aside from an easy matchup against the Texans’ anemic run defense, the overworked Saquon Barkley had mustered only 205 rushing yards on 73 carries (2.8 ypc) in games since Week 8.
And actually, on Sunday night, he had accumulated only 39 rushing yards on 12 carries until the Giants’ final drive, when he rattled off three straight 10+ yard runs. Washington had held him mostly in check (though not out of the end zone). Yet, in the end, Barkley wore them down.
The Saints, however, performed as expected. Rookie Desmond Ridder was mostly overmatched in his first NFL start, collecting only 97 passing yards on 26 attempts. Also, as expected, Ridder did some damage on the ground (38 rushing yards). But New Orleans did enough to win and keep their playoff hopes alive.
And now, my top pick for Week 16, plus the usual backup options if you’ve already chosen my No. 1 preference, or if you simply don’t buy into what I’m selling.
Kansas City Chiefs
As alluded to last week, I’ve been saving the Chiefs all season. They are, in fact, the only good team I’ve saved. The next best team on standby is the 7-7 Jets, followed by a collection of below .500 teams.
If you’re still in your pool, and if you have the Chiefs, now’s the time to use them, especially if you have a decent option for next week. The fact is, Denver’s defense (Week 17) scares me a bit, even though that should be an easy KC win.
But this week? At home against Seattle? I like it. The Seahawks have been demolished on the ground, and both Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon have hit another gear as anchors of a fantastic NFL backfield.
Additionally, Kansas City is mostly healthy, and they’re still playing for the No. 1 seed. If you save KC until Week 18, it might be too late if their playoff seed is set and they opt to rest most of their starters in a meaningless game.
If you’d rather save the Chiefs, or don’t trust me, or can’t use them anymore, go with Tennessee. This is a must-win game for the descending Titans, who still control their postseason fate.
While Houston’s played great recently despite missing several of their top point guards, the Titans match up well against them. Houston is among the worst teams against the run. Tennessee is one of the best teams against the run.
I see the Titans daring Houston to win through the air, while Derrick Henry racks up 125+ yards on 25+ touches to seal the victory.
San Francisco 49ers
You want another option? Take San Francisco over Washington. The Commanders have thrived on the ground because of volume more than efficiency. The Niners don’t care about volume. They’re giving up a league-low 3.4 yards per carry. Let Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson claw their way to third-and-short or third-and-medium.
Because they’ll force Taylor Heinicke to try to win through the air. As well as Heinicke as played as a backup thrust into the starting role, he’s in an entirely different situation as the entrenched starter helping to keep his team in playoff contention.
The benefit of the doubt we give Washington stems from their sharp rebound with Heinicke at the helm. But as is the case with most QBs, we eventually learn whether they’re mere starters, franchise quarterbacks, or franchise-elevating quarterbacks.
For now, it seems clear that Heinicke is a deserving NFL starter, and under some circumstances, he might become a franchise QB. But on the road against the fearsome 49ers, he’ll need to elevate his offense. I don’t see it happening.